West Michigan Couple Killed By Suspected Drunk Driver With Criminal Past

Posted at 10:51 PM, Oct 11, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-11 23:43:12-04

CALEDONIA, Mich. – Two families are trying to make sense of a senseless tragedy.  23-year-old Eric Fischer of Caledonia and his girlfriend, 20-year-old Andrea Herrera were killed after police said a drunk driver collided with them sending both vehicles into the path of a semi.

It happened just before 10 p.m. Thursday night at the corner of Patterson and 36th Street in Cascade Township.  The driver allegedly responsible for the crash was arrested for drinking and driving.

27-year-old Joesph Ford is charged with two counts of operating while impaired.  One count for each life that was lost.  According to court documents, a passenger in Ford’s car said they had left a bar after drinking between two and four beers and two shots of liquor.

The family of the victim’s were both in shock Friday night, trying to understand why this happened.

Eric and Andrea had just taken a big step in their relationship according to Fischer’s dad Ross Fischer.

“He was heading home to take care of Otis when it happened,” said Ross.

“That was their baby, Eric and Andrea,” said Eric’s step-mom, Charity Dishon-Fischer.

Otis is a 9-week-old puppy.  Eric had just moved back in with his dad and step-mom’s home in Caledonia.  Ross said the two were heading home after catching a few innings of Tiger’s game when the collision happened.

Eric was rushed to surgery, Andrea had already died. Charity said her step-son must have sensed her death gave up his own fight to survive.

“He saw her and knew that she wasn’t alive and couldn’t be here without her,” said Charity.

Eric was the oldest of five children.  He had three sisters and a brother.

Charity said it’s difficult to think how they will handle this loss, “Imagining all the things that they are going to live through and not have their brother.”

After graduating from East Kentwood High School, Eric enrolled at Davenport University, working towards a sports marketing degree.

“He is just responsible,” she said.  “Easy going, big heart.”

Instead of planning for the future, two families are planning funeral arrangements.  Visitation for Eric will be on Sunday Oct. 13th at Stroo Funeral Home on 68th Street from 2:00pm to 4:00pm and 6:00pm to 8:00pm.

His funeral will be on Monday at 3:00pm.

As for Ford, a look into his past shows a history of arrests and driving violations.  On the criminal end, he has drug convictions as well as operating while intoxicated in 2006.

In 2012, Ford was convicted of operating with a suspended license.  His driving record shows he was able to get his license back in June of this year.  The records also show numerous alcohol related convictions.